09 Mar State needs ‘to do more’ for female entrepreneurs and women-owned startups, WEDC head says
WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes says the state should do more to elevate female entrepreneurs and women-owned startups.
Speaking yesterday during a webinar for International Women’s Day, Hughes said Wisconsin is “keeping pace” with national trends for investment in women-owned businesses, but “we need to do more.”
She said women-founded companies in the state’s Qualified New Business Venture program — which provides tax benefits to investors in Wisconsin startups — received just about 5.5 percent of all the money invested in QNBV companies between 2017 and 2020.
“That’s about half the national figure for comparable investments that go to teams with all women or mixed-gender founding teams, so we can do better there,” she said. “And we also see that some of those investments are not on par with what other companies are receiving. So not only are there less women receiving the investments, but those investments often are smaller.”
Hughes explained the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is highlighting these trends in conversations with investors and venture capital firms “to make sure they understand” the opportunity presented by women-owned businesses.
She noted national studies have found startups with a female founder on the team generate 10 percent more cumulative revenue over five years. And she said investment groups with more female partners tend to add more jobs, make more successful investments at the portfolio level and overall achieve higher returns and more profitable exits.
“We need to demonstrate — and we can demonstrate — data that investing in women-owned startups is the best way to see returns to our investors,” she said.